Data Protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 gives you certain rights, and also places legal responsibilities on organisations who process personal information about you.

The Act says that organisations collecting and holding personal information must be open about how it is to be used and must make sure that data is:

  • Fairly and lawfully processed.
  • Processed for limited purposes.
  • Adequate, relevant and not excessive.
  • Accurate.
  • Not kept for longer than is necessary.
  • Processed in line with your rights.
  • Secure.
  • Not transferred to countries without adequate protection.

By law, the Council is required to follow these rules.

The Council holds a variety of information about people living in the borough. For example, records are kept by: Libraries, Leisure Services, Education, Council Tax, Housing Benefit, Social Services, Planning and other services.​​

Request access to your personal information held by the Council

Under the terms of Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998, you have the right to be told whether Cheshire West and Chester Council hold any information about you and to be provided with a copy of your personal data within a 40 day period. This is called a Subject Access Request.

Subject Acccess Request

Request access to your personal information - download, print and complete the form, then return it with proof of identification and a fee of £10 to:

Phil Orchard
Data Protection Officer
HQ
Nicholas Street
Chester
CH1 2NP

Proof of identity

To help establish your identity, your application must be accompanied by proof of identity and proof of address.

The Council will accept scanned copies of your photo ID (preferably driving licence or passport), as well as official documents themselves. We will also accept Medical Cards and Birth Certificates as proof of identity. If you have difficulty scanning your documents, staff at any of our front desk locations will be able to do this for you on request. 

Please provide a recent utility bill as proof of your address, this will allow us to post your information to you when it is ready for release. 

Fee

Your Subject Access Request will cost £10. You are encouraged to pay by cheque or postal order. All payments should be made out to ‘Cheshire West and Chester Council’. Postal Orders must be UK Postal Orders.​

Data Matching

Cheshire West and Chester Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The National Fraud Initiative, (NFI), is the Audit Commission's biennial data matching exercise which is intended to detect fraudulent and erroneous payments from the public purse. The work is designed to help reduce the level of many types of fraud including housing benefit fraud, payroll and pension fraud, and housing tenancy fraud.

The Audit Commission requires the Council to participate the NFI data matching exercise to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Audit Commission for matching for each NFI exercise, and these are set out in the Audit Commission's guidance.

Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body to see how far they match. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it may indicate that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice.  

For further information on the Audit Commission's legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, visit the Audit Commision website.​​

Data Sharing

​​As a registered Data Controller, we will process your personal data and information in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. For more information about data protection see the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) website.

As part of legal duty to protect the data we hold on clients and customers, we have produced a Data Sharing Protocol to allow the Authority to properly manage the way we handle requests to share information with partners and external organisations.

By ‘data sharing’ we mean the disclosure of data from one or more organisations to a third party organisation(s), or the sharing of data between different parts of an organisation. Data sharing can take the form of:

  • a reciprocal exchange of data;
  • one or more organisations providing data to a third party or
    parties;
  • several organisations pooling information and making it available to each other; 
  • several organisations pooling information and making it available to a third party or parties;
  • exceptional, one-off disclosures of data in unexpected or
    emergency situations; or
  • different parts of the same organisation making data available to each other.

Email Disclaimer

​Email messages sent from users of Cheshire West and Chester Council's email systems have a legal disclaimer statement appended automatically.

Any opinions expressed in the email message you have received are those of the individual and not necessarily of Cheshire West and Chester Council or other organisations which are hosted on the Council's mail servers.

Unless encrypted, email messages passing over the internet are not secure and could be intercepted and read by someone else. Please bear this in mind when deciding what information to include in any email messages you intend to send to the Council. 

Confidentiality

Email messages and any file attachments sent by the Council may contain confidential or legally privileged information and are only intended for the addressee. If you are not the intended recipient or the person responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, any onward transmission of the email is strictly prohibited.

If you have received the email in error, you should delete the message and any attachments immediately, including any backups and temporary files and notify the Data Protection Officer.

Monitoring 

The Council automatically monitors both outgoing and incoming email communications. You should therefore be aware that if you send an email to a person within the Council it will be subject to monitoring for lawful business purposes and will be stored and disposed of in accordance with the Council's archiving/back up policies. 

Security and Viruses 

Although the Council virus scans incoming and outgoing emails (including file attachments) it cannot guarantee that the content of an email communication or any file attachment is virus free or has not been intercepted or amended as it passes over the internet. The onus is on the recipient to check the communication is virus-free. The Council accepts no responsibility for any damage caused by receiving emails from our email systems and/or hosted domains. 

Access 

As a public authority, the Council is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Under this legislation the Council may be required to disclose the content of an email (or a response to it) unless the information it contains is protected from disclosure under an exemption in the Act.​

How to read a secure email from us

​We sometimes send emails that include personal and private information. The only person who should see an email like this is the person it’s meant for.  

So we give the email an extra level of security. It’s called an ‘encrypted’ email.  

To read an encrypted email from us, you first need to set up an account through ‘Egress’ – a specialist organisation used by lots of councils, government departments and private companies to keep information secure. 

It only takes a few moments to get your free account. Once it’s set up you'll be able to read the email, and reply to it confidentially.

You only need to set up an account once. You’ll be able to read and reply to encrypted emails in the future without doing it again.

Egress only make the email secure. They can’t see the information in it. 

Need help using Egress?

Website: www.egress.com/support
Email: support@egress.com
Telephone: 0871 376 0014

Any Queries for the Data Protection Officer?

The Data Protection Officer for the Authority is Philip Orchard.

Email: DPAWest@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk

Write to: Information Services and Assurance Team, 2nd floor, HQ, 58 Nicholas Street, Chester, CH1 2NP

If you are not satisfied with how your request is handled you should write in the first instance to the Data Protection Officer.

Informat​ion Commissioner

The Information Commissioner’s Office website provides a wealth of information and documents about data protection. ​ ​
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